Forget 1999 (sorry Prince), the new hotness is the Medieval era, and EA Interactive is going to take you there in the Sims Medieval. This Sims game is really like no other, as it plays more like a linear RPG than a free-roaming life simulation. You'll create a "hero," via the expected multiple customization options (available in both the iOS and PC versions) and you'll then take that hero on a fairly straightforward journey from a small hovel all of the way to fame, fortune and a castle to call home.
Unlike in other Sims titles, where wishes or desires will simply come to your Sim over time via their own AI and personalities, here, you have to interact with other Sims to receive quests. You'll need to talk to the Sims to discover their likes and dislikes and then use those to your advantage to gain more information. For instance, in our demo period with the iPhone version of the game, we were introduced to a military man who loved speaking of war. After learning this and continuing to amuse him in conversation, he became our acquaintance and gave us a task.
The Sims Medieval also introduces combat to the game, which gives the game a dangerous streak. Your Sims can and possibly will die if you don't succeed in battles or in quests, or you mail fail quests outright if they have time limits and you don't address them in time. There are also environmental hazards to be aware of, in the form of plagues, duels and other themed dangers that really would have been causes for concern in the real world time frame.
As for your free time, it's still there on the side, allowing you to feed your hero (cooking takes place in a cauldron, appropriately enough), and explore your home and surrounding areas. Like in other Sims titles, you won't lose out on the romance in the Sims Medieval either, along with other side-activities, but things have simply been appropriately themed to appear and play as though you've truly stepped back in time to the Middle Ages. The user interface is simplistic, yet still offers all of the expected controls as well - rotating the camera angle around your Sim, zooming in and out on the landscape, controlling the speed of the flow of time and so on.
Gallery: Sims Medieval iPhone E3 2011
Even with your limited freedom, the Sims Medieval has a definite beginning and end, due to this RPG and quest-based structure. It's all in whether or not your Sims can actually survive until the end that will separate the peasants from those bound for greatness. There's no official release date for the Sims Medieval on iPhone, but we'll make sure to bring you more information about this mobile version as it becomes available.
Will you be interested in trying the Sims Medieval on your iPhone? Do you like the idea of a linear Sims experience, or are you more interested in the traditional free-roaming version? Sound off in the comments.